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Other Education Issues

Legal Information
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This section of PALawHelp.org has information and resources about Other Education Issues in Pennsylvania.

Click on a resource category listed below to see information related to that category.

Federal Court Finder

Find a federal court location by location or court name, including appellate, district, bankruptcy, probation and pretrial office, or federal defender organization. Each District Court has its own local forms which are generally available on the Court website.

Mediation (Special Education)

Even when parents and school officials try their best to reach agreement on a student’s special education program, disagreements can occur. If this happens, mediation, which is a free, voluntary, and confidential alternative to a formal due process hearing, is an option. Mediation can take place at any time before or during the due process cycle. Mediation is not a required process and may not delay or deny a parent the right to a due process hearing. Information on the Mediation process from the Office of Dispute Resolution (Special Education).

Special Education Due Process Complaint Process and Forms

Information on the complaint process, including the Complaint Form, which is used to submit a formal complaint to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education. Office for Dispute Resolution (Special Education).

Homeschooling in Pennsylvania: A Fact Sheet

Information from the Education Law Center - Pennsylvania on home schooling in Pennsylvania. (July 2008)

Rights of Multilingual Learners & Linguistically & Culturally Diverse Families

Information from the Education Law Center - Pennsylvania. Overview of the rights of students receiving English language instruction (identified in laws as English learners or ELs) and parents or guardians whose first language is not English (identified in laws as limited English proficient or LEP).

Attendance & Truancy: Your Rights

Information and resources on school attendence laws and truancy proceedings.

Bullying or Harassment Complaint Form Checklist

Learn about student’s rights to be free from bullying and harassment and what you can do as a parent or caregiver. This checklist can be used to guide you as you fill out a Bullying/Harassment Complaint. If your child’s school uses a certain form, use that form. If not, you can use this sample form.

COVID-19 School Closures & English Learners

Five things English learners should know about school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic from the Educational Law Center.

COVID-19 School Closures & Students Experiencing Homelessness

Five things to know for Students in Temporary Living Situations during the COVID-19 pandemic from the Educational Law Center.

COVID-19 School Closures & Students in Foster Care

Five things to know about School Closures & Students in Foster Care during the COVID-19 pandemic from the Education Law Center.

Educational Decision Makers and Surrogate Parents in Pennsylvania

The Education Law Center and Juvenile Law Center have developed this fact sheet to explain important educational decision maker rules, including when judges are required to appoint an “Educational Decision Maker” for children who have no capable parent or guardian to make education decisions for them, and situations where school districts have a duty to appoint a “surrogate parent” for children with special education needs. (2014)

Education Law Center

The Education Law Center is a non-profit legal advocacy and educational organization, dedicated to ensuring that all of Pennsylvania's children have access to a quality public education.

ELC’s 2021 Back-to-School Guide for Pennsylvania Public School Students

The Education Law Center (ELC) has updated its “Back-to-School” guide for families, students, and schools. The information and fact sheets now include COVID-related considerations for the upcoming school year.

Online and Hybrid Learning: An Equity Checklist for Schools

This checklist from the Education Law Center is a guide to ensure that schools providing online instruction are equitably serving students in the new school year.

School Immunization Requirements in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Health’s immunization regulations require parents or guardians of students enrolled in grades K-12 to have their children immunized against various diseases in order to protect the health and safety of all students. This fact sheet helps families understand and navigate these requirements.

The Rights of Students Experiencing Homelessness

Youth who are experiencing homelessness have special rights under a federal law called the McKinney-Vento Act. This fact sheet provides detailed information and resources for youth experiencing homelessness regarding their education rights under that federal law. A sample complaint form is provided.

The Right to Special Education In Pennsylvania: A Guide for Parents and Advocates [PDF]

This Guide describes the legal rules that govern the special education and early intervention programs in Pennsylvania for children from age three until schooling ends. (2021)

What Can a Parent do if a Child has a Health Need that Requires Accommodations in School?

There are many steps that schools must take to make sure that children with health needs can be included in all parts of school. This fact sheet will explain the rights that children with health problems and their parents have in school.

What to Do When Your Child is Bullied or Harassed: A Parent’s Guide to Advocacy in PA Public Schools

If the school knows that a current student is being bullied or harassed by another student at school, on school grounds, in school vehicles, at a designated bus stop or at any activity sponsored, supervised or sanctioned by the school, the school has a legal duty to investigate and take action to keep your child safe. The school should also provide your child supports and interventions when bullying or harassment occurs outside of school (including on social media) if it is substantially interfering with your child’s education or causing a threatening environment. This guide offers suggested steps to ensure the school fulfills these duties. (September 2019)

Your Right to Be Free from Gender Identity Discrimination

This Fact Sheet details rights of transgender and gender-noncomforming students, addressing access to facilities, expressing your gender identity, and the right to be safe at school. “Gender identity” is a person’s sense of themselves as a boy, a girl, both a boy and girl, or neither boy or girl. (2018)

Your Right to Be Free from Sexual Orientation Discrimination at School

This Fact Sheet details rights of lesbian, gay, and bisexual students, including the right to be safe in school, the right to be out, and the right to privacy. (2018)

Pupil Transportation Issues - Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to frequently asked questions about pupil transportation from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. [PDF]

High School Equivalency (GED)/ Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma (CSSD)

Information on the Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma (CSSD), which is a high school equivalency credential available to Pennsylvania residents who do not possess a high school diploma and who have met criteria specified in the Pennsylvania Code. The Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma may be achieved by passing the GED® test or the HiSET® exam or by completing the 30 College Credit Option.

COVID-19 Guidance and Answers to Common Questions

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about education issues and schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mediation (Special Education)

Even when parents and school officials try their best to reach agreement on a student’s special education program, disagreements can occur. If this happens, mediation, which is a free, voluntary, and confidential alternative to a formal due process hearing, is an option. Mediation can take place at any time before or during the due process cycle. Mediation is not a required process and may not delay or deny a parent the right to a due process hearing. Information on the Mediation process from the Office of Dispute Resolution (Special Education).

Special Education Due Process Complaint Process and Forms

Information on the complaint process, including the Complaint Form, which is used to submit a formal complaint to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education. Office for Dispute Resolution (Special Education).

Facts about Pennsylvania public schools

General facts about the public education system in Pennsylvania that demonstrate the remarkable ability of Pennsylvania’s public schools to provide students with high-quality education.

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